An internship is a good way to get your foot in the door to learn the ins and outs of an industry either while you’re still in school or if you’re having trouble landing a full-time job. Think of an internship as a way to add credentials to your resume – and an opportunity to make industry contacts. When getting ready for your internship interview, remember to bring a positive attitude, a genuine smile and an open mind – along with a few other essentials.
An internship interview is no different than an interview for a full-time job. You want to look clean and professional. Keep in mind that you’re competing with others who are just as eager as you are to win over the interviewer, so dress appropriately. When choosing your clothes, consider the industry, but don’t dress overly casual or too trendy even if you’re applying to a creative field. Opt for a conservative look that’s business-appropriate, flattering and fits well. Always leave the club clothes in your closet.
Resume and References
Always bring a clean, crisp copy of your resume to the interview even if the interviewer already has one. If you’ve updated your resume since you applied, be sure to supply the interviewer with your latest resume and explain the differences. Also bring along a reference page that includes the names and contact information of people that can speak positively and intelligently about you. Former employers, professors or other professionals are all good references. Prepare the page in a format similar to your resume. Put a “Reference” heading at the top of the page -- and then in separate text blocks, list the name, title, address, phone number and email address of each reference. You should include your name at the bottom of the page, just in case the page is misplaced from the rest of your file.
It’s understandable that you might not have much related work experience in the industry, since you’re apply for an internship to gain just that. However, if you have a portfolio that’s work-related, you might want to bring samples of your work that demonstrate that you actually have the aptitude and capability to handle the position. This might include any relevant school projects, published work, or professional recognition.
You should also bring a small notebook and pen to the interview so that you can write down any important information. If you have questions prepared, it’s helpful to write these down in advance. Being prepared with questions and writing information during the interview shows the interviewer that you’re totally engaged and interested in the position.
Auston Matta is an experienced engineer who has worked in the packaging industry since 2003. He holds a bachelor's degree in bio-engineering and a master's degree in engineering management. Auston has also contributed to "Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News."